Serge Fiori meets Jean-Paul Riopelle in marriage of visible and symphonic artwork

Serge Fiori meets Jean-Paul Riopelle in marriage of visible and symphonic artwork

Riopelle symphonique options 140 musicians and singers on stage, accompanied by dozens of photographs of works by the famed Québécois artist.

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The idea of Riopelle symphonique is fairly wild, to place it mildly. It’s an out-of-left-field challenge that marries the artwork of famend Québécois artist Jean-Paul Riopelle with the songs of Harmonium founder Serge Fiori — inside the framework of a 75-minute work of up to date classical music created by Montreal composer Blair Thomson.

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It’ll have its world première Feb. 16 because the opening-night present of the Montréal en lumière pageant, with performances by means of Feb. 18 at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of Place des Arts with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Choeur des Petits Chanteurs de Laval, and the Temps Fort choir, all below the route of the conductor Adam Johnson.

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There will likely be 140 musicians and singers on stage, accompanied by dozens of photographs of Riopelle’s work.

“The very first thing to grasp is I’m not a man who comes from the symphonic world,” mentioned Riopelle symphonique inventive director Nicolas Lemieux.

Lemieux is a music-biz entrepreneur. He purchased the venerable Quebec file label GSI Musique in 2010 and helped revive the profession of Fiori in 2014 with the discharge of the favored self-titled comeback album from the seasoned singer-songwriter. In 2020, GSI launched Harmonium symphonique, an album adaptation of the long-lasting Quebec band’s materials that includes the OSM. GSI’s newest challenge is Riopelle symphonique.

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“I needed to marry symphonic artwork with visible artwork,” Lemieux mentioned in an interview. “I needed to make a cocktail of various classes of artwork that don’t normally go collectively. It was actually an unlimited problem to convey collectively these totally different inventive languages that weren’t essentially suitable. After I offered the challenge to the higher administration of the OSM, to my workforce, folks had been into it.”

The concept was to mark the one centesimal anniversary of the start of Riopelle in 2023. Lemieux instantly considered working with Fiori on the challenge, however the veteran rocker initially gave his outdated pal a tough “no” to collaborating. Then he snared Thomson because the composer and, after extra dialogue, Fiori lastly relented.

“I believe the insanity of Blair and the humanity of Serge” clicked, mentioned Lemieux. “My job was to place the correct substances collectively, to mix every part.”

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Fiori, in an interview from his dwelling on the banks of Lac St-Jean, mentioned he turned Lemieux down at first as a result of the preliminary thought was to put in writing authentic new songs “and as I inform everybody, I’m actually not there anymore. Then I instructed Blair, ‘Why don’t we decide solo tunes, not Harmonium tunes, that match with Riopelle’s work?’ When he mentioned he favored that concept, that’s after I agreed to participate.”

Thomson says it was Lemieux’s genius to convey him along with Fiori, calling it “a chic match.”

The album Riopelle symphonique was launched late final 12 months and isn’t available in shops or on the streaming platforms. The one place you should buy it — on CD, vinyl or digital type — is through the web site riopellesymphonique.com .

“I attempted to get inside Riopelle to grasp the character of this magnetism, by means of the filter of Serge’s music,” Thomson mentioned. “So at the start of every motion, there’s a fraction of one in all Serge’s songs. … It’s the supply materials for that whole motion.”

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Alongside the way in which, Thomson and Fiori turned quick associates. They’d been texting and speaking on-line for months, and when Thomson lastly went to Lac St-Jean to fulfill Fiori, he introduced a bottle of Italian wine that he picked randomly at an SAQ. Turned out Barolo was Fiori’s all-time favorite.

“It was as if we’d identified one another for 40 years,” Thomson mentioned.

“I’m actually blissful that I lastly mentioned ‘sure’ and Nicolas insisted,” Fiori mentioned. “It’s simply superb. It’s a chunk of labor that I hope folks hearken to. It simply comes from Blair. I’m the DJ.”

Provides Thomson: “I approached it as if components of Serge’s songs had been like tubes of paint. Although music isn’t technically a plastic artwork, I at all times considered music as a plastic artwork. On this case, as a result of my response to Riopelle is so overwhelmingly bodily, with each word, I considered the musicians as sculptors.

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“It’s a virtuosic work. Solely a high-level orchestra can pull it off. So Serge’s materials turns into bits of paint. It’s my authentic composition however Serge is there.

“He texted me as soon as and mentioned: ‘Blair, you’re not from this universe.’ And I texted him again and mentioned: ‘Serge, I assume we’re two astronauts and we’re going by means of on the vessel known as Riopelle. We’re a two-headed monster.’”

Riopelle symphonique is at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of Place des Arts Feb. 16-18. For tickets and data, go to: placedesarts.com

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